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Thread: Svetasvatara Upanishad

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    Svetasvatara Upanishad

    Svetasvatara Upanishad says that once you attain Brahman or Self, it hardly matters how you conduct which includes killing of family members or other acts considered bad by the society. In effect, you transcend morality.

  2. #2

    Re: Svetasvatara Upanishad

    Hi Soham,

    Reading the meaning of certain slokas of any Upanisad could lead one to wrong conclusions. The object of Upanisads is to realise self or Brahman. These Upanisads are to be studied under a well versed Guru. In Katopanisad Lord Yama tells Naciketa that only a Guru who has realised Self could impart knowledge to others about Self. Otherwise it is like a blind man leading another blind.

    Bruhadaranaya Upanisad (4.4.6) says
    • (Self) Experiencing (in other world) the end of whatever work it does in this life, it comes from that world again to this world for (new) work. Thus does the man with craving (transmigrate). But of a man who has no craving - who is without desires, whom desires have left, whose objects of desire have been realised, whose only object of desire is the Self - the organs do not go out. (Ever) being Brahman Itself, he is merged in Brahman. (4.4.6)
      • When all the desires that abide in the intellect of a man have totally left, then the mortal man becomes immortal and realises Brahman in this very body. (4.4.7)
    From this one could understand that one could realise Brahman only when all desires have left. The question of killing others arises only if some body hates another person so deeply that he decides to kill. Could a person,
    having realised Brahman possibly think of killing another person or for that matter harm another in any way? For the answer you can again go to Bruhadaranaya Upanisad:


    When there is duality, as it were, then one smells another, one sees another, one hears another, one speaks of another, one thinks of another, one knows of another. When (however) all has become the very self of the knower of Brahman, then what should one smell and through what? What should one hear and through what? What should one speak of through what? What should one know and through what? Through what should one know That because of which all this is known? Through what, my dear (Maitreyi) should one know the Knower? (2.4.14)

    I hope the doubt is cleared.

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    Re: Svetasvatara Upanishad

    Hari Om
    ~~~~~

    Quote Originally Posted by syvedi40 View Post
    Reading the meaning of certain slokas of any Upanisad could lead one to wrong conclusions. The object of Upanisads is to realise self or Brahman. These Upanisads are to be studied under a well versed Guru. (2.4.14)
    Namaste syvedi40,

    Most excellently said. The wisdom of the Upanishads is quite profound.

    Taking them just at face value, word for word will not yield the maximum results. Why so? the rishis were adept in samketa ( sam is join, completeness, + keta or a mark, a sign, intention, will). This samketa is symbols.

    We can go deeper and wider as needed, yet the conversation must consider what a individual does once established in Brahman. IF we look to the Chandogya Upanishad Chapt 2.1.4 it points out that all dharmas come to him that adores sAman.

    That is, once established in Brahman ones conduct is in accord with the laws of nature that guide and direct this whole creation. This is the practical side of becoming Brahmavit ( knowing Brahman) - one's actions are now HIS actions. Where then can there be fault? Where then could there be any actions that are not Rta ( Rta ऋत proper , right , fit , apt , suitable; enlightened, luminious).

    pranams

    More HDF discussion on symbols:

    1.http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/sho...hlight=symbols
    2.http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/sho...hlight=symbols
    3. http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/sho...hlight=symbols
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: Svetasvatara Upanishad

    There has been error on my part in the interpretation. In some upanishads, it is stated that a gyani / jnani is not bound. And so by killing, he does not kill because he is rooted in the Absolute.

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    Re: Svetasvatara Upanishad

    Quote Originally Posted by soham3 View Post
    There has been error on my part in the interpretation. In some upanishads, it is stated that a gyani / jnani is not bound. And so by killing, he does not kill because he is rooted in the Absolute.
    Namaste Soham,

    Jnani is one who has become one with Brahman -- the absolute -- one and all. How can Jnani kill himself?

    Om
    That which is without letters (parts) is the Fourth, beyond apprehension through ordinary means, the cessation of the phenomenal world, the auspicious and the non-dual. Thus Om is certainly the Self. He who knows thus enters the Self by the Self.

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    Re: Svetasvatara Upanishad

    Krishna was a jnani but he preaches Arjun in bhagvad-gita to kill the opponents. Same theme is there in some of the upanishads. And because every thing other than Brahman is totally illusory & completely unreal, so a jnani can do any thing & indulge in any activity whatsoever. And these include incest, murder, robbery and indeed any crime or thing imaginable whatsoever.

  7. #7

    Re: Svetasvatara Upanishad

    Quote Originally Posted by soham3 View Post
    Krishna was a jnani but he preaches Arjun in bhagvad-gita to kill the opponents. Same theme is there in some of the upanishads. And because every thing other than Brahman is totally illusory & completely unreal, so a jnani can do any thing & indulge in any activity whatsoever. And these include incest, murder, robbery and indeed any crime or thing imaginable whatsoever.
    Fighting in a dharma yuddha <> incest, murder, robbery and indeed any crime or thing imaginable whatsoever.

    Pls don't extrapolate things out of context and any sort of tangible meaning.
    What is Here, is Elsewhere. What is not Here, is Nowhere.

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    Re: Svetasvatara Upanishad

    Namaste Soham.

    Quote Originally Posted by soham3 View Post
    There has been error on my part in the interpretation. In some upanishads, it is stated that a gyani / jnani is not bound. And so by killing, he does not kill because he is rooted in the Absolute.
    Jnani - Self-realised
    The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi
    Edited by David Godman
    (http://www.hinduism.co.za/jnani-.htm)

    Question: Does a jnani have Sankalpas (desires)?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: The main qualities of the ordinary mind are Tamas (sloth, inertia) and Rajas (passion, excitement); hence it is full of egoistic desires and weaknesses. But the jnani’s mind is Suddhi-Sattva (pure harmony) and formless, functioning in the subtle Vijnanmayakosha (the sheath of knowledge), through which he keeps contact with the world. His desires are therefore also pure.

    Question:In the jnani the ego subsists in the pure form and therefore it appears as something real. Am I right?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: The existence of the ego in any form, either in the jnani or ajnani, is itself an experience. But to the ajnani who is deluded into thinking that the waking state and the world are real, the ego also appears to be real. Since he sees the jnani act like other individuals, he feels constrained to posit some notion of individuality with reference to the jnani also.

    Question: How then does the Aham-Vritti (‘I’ thought, the sense of individuality) function in the jnani?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: It does not function in him at all. The jnani’s real nature is the Heart itself, because he is one and identical with the undifferentiated, pure consciousness referred to by the Upanishads as the Prajnana (full consciousness). Prajnana is truly Brahman, the absolute, and there is no Brahman other than Prajnana.

    Question: If the jnani and the ajnani perceive the world in like manner, where is the difference between them?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: Seeing the world, the jnani sees the Self which is the substratum of all that is seen; the ajnani, whether he sees the world or not, is ignorant of his true being, the Self. (Ramana then explains it with the analogy of the screen and the moving picture).

    Question: What is the difference between the Baddha and the Mukta, the bound man and the one liberated?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: The ordinary man lives in the brain unaware of himself in the Heart. The jnana-siddha (jnani) lives in the Heart. When he moves about and deals with men and things, he knows that what he sees is not separate from the one supreme reality, the Brahman which he realised in the Heart as his own Self, the real.

    Question: Does a jnani have dreams?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: Yes, he does dream, but he knows it to be a dream, in the same way as he knows the waking state to be a dream. You may call them dream number one and dream number two. The jnani being established in the fourth state-Turiya, the supreme reality- he detachedly witnesses the three other states, waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep, as pictures superimposed on it.

    For those who experience waking, dream and sleep, the state of wakeful sleep, which is beyond those three states, is named Turiya (the fourth). But since that Turiya alone exists and since the seeming three states do not exist, know for certain that turiya is itself turiyatitta (that which transcends the fourth).

    Question: Is there no Dehatma Buddhi (I-am-the-body idea) for the jnani? If, for instance, Sri Bhagavan is bitten by an insect, is there no sensation?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: There is the sensation and there is also the dehatma buddhi. The latter is common to both jnani and ajnani with this difference, that the ajnani thinks only the body is myself, whereas the jnani knows all is of the Self, or all this is Brahman. If there be pain let it be. It is also part of the Self. The Self is Poorna (perfect).

    After transcending dehatma buddhi one becomes a jnani. In the absence of that idea there cannot be either Kartritva (doership) or Karta (doer). So a jnani has no karma (that is, a jnani performs no actions). That is his experience. Otherwise he is not a jnani. However, the ajnani identifies the jnani with his body, which the jnani does not do.

    Question: I see you doing things. How can you say that you never perform actions?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: The radio sings and speaks, but if you open it you will find no one inside. Similarly, my existence is like the space; though this body speaks like the radio, there is no one inside as a doer.

    Question: I find this hard to understand. Could you please elaborate on this?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: Various illustrations are given in books to enable us to understand how the jnani can live and act without the mind, although living and acting require the use of the mind. The potter’s wheel goes on turning round even after the potter has ceased to turn it because the pot is finished. In the same way, the electric fan goes on revolving for some minutes after we switch off the current. Prarabdha (predestined Karma) which created the body will make it go through whatever activities it was meant for. But the jnani goes through all these activities without the notion that he is the doer of them. It is hard to understand how this is possible. The illustration generally given is that the jnani performs actions in some such way as a child that is roused from sleep to eat eats but does not remember next morning that it ate. It has to be remembered that all these explanations are not for the jnani. He knows and has no doubts. He knows that he is not the body and he knows that he is not doing anything even though his body may be engaged in some activity. These explanations are for the onlookers who think of the jnani as one with a body and cannot help identifying him with his body.

    Questioner:It is said that the shock of realisation is so great that the body cannot survive it.

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: There are various controversies or schools of thought as to whether a jnani can continue to live in his physical body after realisation. Some hold that one who dies cannot be a jnani because his body must vanish into thin air, or some such thing. They put forward all sorts of funny notions. If a man at once leaves his body when he realises the Self, I wonder how any knowledge of the Self or the state of realisation can come down to other men. And that would mean that all those who have given us the fruits of their Self-realisation in books cannot be considered jnanis because they went on living after realisation. And if it is held that a man cannot be considered a jnani so long as he performs actions in the world (and action is impossible without the mind), then not only the great sages who carried on various kinds of work after attaining jnana must be considered ajnanis but the gods also, and Iswara (the supreme personal God) himself, since he continues looking after the world. The fact is that any amount of action can be performed, and performed quite well, by the jnani, without his identifying himself with it in any way or ever imagining that he is the doer. Some power acts through his body and uses his body to get the work done.

    Question: Is a jnani capable of or likely to commit sins?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: An ajnani sees someone as a jnani and identifies him with the body. Because he does not know the Self and mistakes his body for the Self, he extends the same mistake to the state of the jnani. The jnani is therefore considered to be the physical frame.

    Again, since the ajnani, though he is not the doer, imagines himself to be the doer and considers the actions of the body his own, he thinks the ajnani to be similarly acting when the body is active. But the jnani himself knows the truth and is not confounded. The state of a jnani cannot be determined by the ajnani and therefore the question troubles only the ajnani and never arises for the jnani. If he is a doer he must determine the nature of the actions. The Self cannot be the doer. Find out who is the doer and the Self is revealed.

    Question: So it amounts to this. To see a jnani is not to understand him. You see the jnani’s body and not his jnana. One must therefore be a jnani to know a jnani.

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: The jnani sees no one as an ajnani. All are only jnanis in his sight. In the ignorant state one superimposes one’s ignorance on a jnani and mistakes him for a doer. In the state of jnana, the jnani sees nothing separate from the Self. The Self is all shining and only pure jnana. So there is no ajnana in his sight. There is an illustration for this kind of illusion or superimposition.

    Two friends went to sleep side by side. One of them dreamt that both of them had gone on a long journey and that they had had strange experiences. On waking up he recapitulated them and asked his friend if it was not so. The other one simply ridiculed him saying that it was only his dream and could not affect the other.

    So it is with the ajnani who superimposes his illusory ideas on others.

    Question: You have said that the jnani can be and is active, and deals with men and things. I have no doubt about it now. But you say at the same time that he sees no differences; to him all is one, he is always in the consciousness. If so, how does he deal with differences, with men, with things, which are surely different?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: He sees these differences as but appearances, he sees them as not separate from the true, the real, with which he is one.

    Question: The jnani seems to be more accurate in his expressions, he appreciates the differences better than the ordinary man. If sugar is sweet and wormwood is bitter to me, he too seems to realise it so. In fact, all forms, all sounds, all tastes, etc., are the same to him as they are to others. If so, how can it be said that these are mere appearances? Do they not form part of his life experience?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: I have said that equality is the true sign of jnana. The very term equality implies the existence of differences. It is a unity that the jnani perceives in all differences, which I call equality. Equality does not mean ignorance of distinctions. When you have the realisation you can see that these differences are very superficial, that they are not at all substantial or permanent, and what is essential in all these appearances is the one truth, the real. That I call unity. You referred to sound, taste, form, smell, etc. True, the jnani appreciates the distinctions, but he always perceives and experiences the one reality in all of them. That is why he has no preferences. Whether he moves about, or talks, or acts, it is all the one reality in which he acts or moves or talks. He has nothing apart from the one supreme truth.

    Question: They say that the jnani conducts himself with absolute equality towards all?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi:Yes.

    "Friendship, kindness, happiness and such other bhavas (attitudes) become natural to them. Affection towards the good, kindness towards the helpless, happiness in doing good deeds, forgiveness towards the wicked, all such things are natural characteristics of the jnani." (Patanjali, Yoga Sutras, 1:37).

    You ask about jnanis: they are the same in any state or condition, as they know the reality, the truth. In their daily routine of taking food, moving about and all the rest, they, the jnanis, act only for others. Not a single action is done for themselves. I have already told you many times just as there are people whose profession is to mourn for a fee, so also the jnanis do things for the sake of others with detachment, without themselves being affected by them.

    The jnani weeps with the weeping, laughs with the laughing, plays with the playful, sings with those who sing, keeping time to the song. What does he lose? His presence is like a pure, transparent mirror. It reflects the image exactly as it is. But the jnani, who is only a mirror, is unaffected by actions. How can a mirror, or the stand on which it is mounted, be affected by the reflection? Nothing affects them, as they are mere supports. On the other hand, the actors in the world – the doers of all acts, the ajnanis- must decide for themselves what song and what action is for the welfare of the world, what is in accordance with the sastras (scriptures), and what is practicable.

    Questioner: Further, an Indian philosopher, in one of his books, interpreting Sankara, says that there is no such thing as Videha Mukti, for after his death, the Mukta takes a body of light in which he remains till the whole of humanity becomes liberated.

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: That cannot be Sankara’s view. In verse 566 of Vivekachudamani he says that after the dissolution of the physical sheath the liberated man becomes like ‘water poured into water and oil into oil’. It is a state in which there is neither bondage nor liberation. Taking another body means throwing a veil, however subtle, upon reality, which is bondage. Liberation is absolute and irrevocable.

    Question: How can we say that the jnani is not in two planes? He moves about with us in the world and sees the various objects we see. It is not as if he does not see them. For instance he walks along. He sees the path he is treading. Suppose there is a chair or table placed across that path; he sees it, avoids it and goes round. So, have we not to admit he sees the world and the objects there, while of course he sees the Self?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: You say the jnani sees the path, treads it, comes across obstacles, avoids them, etc. In whose eyesight is all this, in the jnani’s or in yours? He sees only the Self and all in the Self.

    Question: Are there no illustrations given in our books to explain this sahaj (natural) state clearly to us?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: There are. For instance you see a reflection in the mirror and the mirror. You know the mirror to be the reality and the picture in it a mere reflection. Is it necessary that to see the mirror we should cease to see the reflection in it?

    Question: What are the fundamental tests for discovering men of great spirituality, since some are reported to behave like insane people?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: The jnani’s mind is known only to the jnani. One must be a jnani oneself in order to understand another jnani. However, the peace of mind which permeates the saint’s atmosphere is the only means by which the seeker understands the greatness of the saint.

    His words or actions or appearance are no indication of his greatness, for they are ordinarily beyond the comprehension of common people.

    Question: Why is it said in the scriptures that the sage is like a child?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: A child and a jnani are similar in a way. Incidents interest a child only so long as they last. It ceases to think of them after they have passed away. So then, it is apparent that they do not leave any impression on the child and it is not affected by them mentally. So it is with a jnani.

    Question: You are Bhagavan. So you should know when I shall get jnana. Tell me when I shall be a jnani?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: If I am Bhagavan there is no one besides the Self- therefore no jnani or ajnani. If otherwise, I am as good as you are and know as much as yourself. Either way I cannot answer your question.

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    Re: Svetasvatara Upanishad

    Hari Om
    ~~~~~
    Quote Originally Posted by soham3 View Post
    Krishna was a jnani but he preaches Arjun in bhagvad-gita to kill the opponents. Same theme is there in some of the upanishads. And because every thing other than Brahman is totally illusory & completely unreal, so a jnani can do any thing & indulge in any activity whatsoever. And these include incest, murder, robbery and indeed any crime or thing imaginable whatsoever.

    Namaste Soham3,
    Your intentions are admirable, yet, in my view, there is a blemish in your understanding. I see that sm78 and atanu have offered relevent and good-standing information for your review... if I may let me offer the following.

    You mention
    And because every thing other than Brahman is totally illusory & completely unreal, so a jnani can do any thing & indulge in any activity whatsoever.
    Soham, there is no-thing other then Brahman, there is no-other.

    When one becomes jvīan-mukti, s/he is Brahmavit, atmavit, the knower of Brahman, and becomes Brahman. Cause-and effect are there no more. How can this be? Because cause-and-effect suggests there are 2.
    All this is Brahman to the jvīan-mukti. There no-thing that is not him (or her) and hence '2' does not exist. This is atanu's offer for your consideration.


    If you consider Krsna's teaching to Arjuna as 'go and kill', then IMHO the fundamental teaching has been missed. That of the nature of the SELF, its expression in each human, and how one acts according to dharma (this I believe is at the core of sm78's offer to you).


    Last, you mention from another post
    I went to Himalayas for penance. There I was told by one 1800 years old saint to go to South India. After coming to South India, I was picked up ( so to say ) by advanced yogis.

    Perhaps going to the ācārya’s you have been blessed to meet and ask them for their council on this matter would be wise.

    pranams
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: Svetasvatara Upanishad

    Quote Originally Posted by saidevo View Post
    Namaste Soham.

    Jnani - Self-realised
    The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi
    Edited by David Godman
    (http://www.hinduism.co.za/jnani-.htm)

    Question: Does a jnani have Sankalpas (desires)?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: The main qualities of the ordinary mind are Tamas (sloth, inertia) and Rajas (passion, excitement); hence it is full of egoistic desires and weaknesses. But the jnani’s mind is Suddhi-Sattva (pure harmony) and formless, functioning in the subtle Vijnanmayakosha (the sheath of knowledge), through which he keeps contact with the world. His desires are therefore also pure.

    Question:In the jnani the ego subsists in the pure form and therefore it appears as something real. Am I right?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: The existence of the ego in any form, either in the jnani or ajnani, is itself an experience. But to the ajnani who is deluded into thinking that the waking state and the world are real, the ego also appears to be real. Since he sees the jnani act like other individuals, he feels constrained to posit some notion of individuality with reference to the jnani also.

    Question: How then does the Aham-Vritti (‘I’ thought, the sense of individuality) function in the jnani?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: It does not function in him at all. The jnani’s real nature is the Heart itself, because he is one and identical with the undifferentiated, pure consciousness referred to by the Upanishads as the Prajnana (full consciousness). Prajnana is truly Brahman, the absolute, and there is no Brahman other than Prajnana.

    Question: If the jnani and the ajnani perceive the world in like manner, where is the difference between them?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: Seeing the world, the jnani sees the Self which is the substratum of all that is seen; the ajnani, whether he sees the world or not, is ignorant of his true being, the Self. (Ramana then explains it with the analogy of the screen and the moving picture).

    Question: What is the difference between the Baddha and the Mukta, the bound man and the one liberated?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: The ordinary man lives in the brain unaware of himself in the Heart. The jnana-siddha (jnani) lives in the Heart. When he moves about and deals with men and things, he knows that what he sees is not separate from the one supreme reality, the Brahman which he realised in the Heart as his own Self, the real.

    Question: Does a jnani have dreams?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: Yes, he does dream, but he knows it to be a dream, in the same way as he knows the waking state to be a dream. You may call them dream number one and dream number two. The jnani being established in the fourth state-Turiya, the supreme reality- he detachedly witnesses the three other states, waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep, as pictures superimposed on it.

    For those who experience waking, dream and sleep, the state of wakeful sleep, which is beyond those three states, is named Turiya (the fourth). But since that Turiya alone exists and since the seeming three states do not exist, know for certain that turiya is itself turiyatitta (that which transcends the fourth).

    Question: Is there no Dehatma Buddhi (I-am-the-body idea) for the jnani? If, for instance, Sri Bhagavan is bitten by an insect, is there no sensation?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: There is the sensation and there is also the dehatma buddhi. The latter is common to both jnani and ajnani with this difference, that the ajnani thinks only the body is myself, whereas the jnani knows all is of the Self, or all this is Brahman. If there be pain let it be. It is also part of the Self. The Self is Poorna (perfect).

    After transcending dehatma buddhi one becomes a jnani. In the absence of that idea there cannot be either Kartritva (doership) or Karta (doer). So a jnani has no karma (that is, a jnani performs no actions). That is his experience. Otherwise he is not a jnani. However, the ajnani identifies the jnani with his body, which the jnani does not do.

    Question: I see you doing things. How can you say that you never perform actions?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: The radio sings and speaks, but if you open it you will find no one inside. Similarly, my existence is like the space; though this body speaks like the radio, there is no one inside as a doer.

    Question: I find this hard to understand. Could you please elaborate on this?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: Various illustrations are given in books to enable us to understand how the jnani can live and act without the mind, although living and acting require the use of the mind. The potter’s wheel goes on turning round even after the potter has ceased to turn it because the pot is finished. In the same way, the electric fan goes on revolving for some minutes after we switch off the current. Prarabdha (predestined Karma) which created the body will make it go through whatever activities it was meant for. But the jnani goes through all these activities without the notion that he is the doer of them. It is hard to understand how this is possible. The illustration generally given is that the jnani performs actions in some such way as a child that is roused from sleep to eat eats but does not remember next morning that it ate. It has to be remembered that all these explanations are not for the jnani. He knows and has no doubts. He knows that he is not the body and he knows that he is not doing anything even though his body may be engaged in some activity. These explanations are for the onlookers who think of the jnani as one with a body and cannot help identifying him with his body.

    Questioner:It is said that the shock of realisation is so great that the body cannot survive it.

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: There are various controversies or schools of thought as to whether a jnani can continue to live in his physical body after realisation. Some hold that one who dies cannot be a jnani because his body must vanish into thin air, or some such thing. They put forward all sorts of funny notions. If a man at once leaves his body when he realises the Self, I wonder how any knowledge of the Self or the state of realisation can come down to other men. And that would mean that all those who have given us the fruits of their Self-realisation in books cannot be considered jnanis because they went on living after realisation. And if it is held that a man cannot be considered a jnani so long as he performs actions in the world (and action is impossible without the mind), then not only the great sages who carried on various kinds of work after attaining jnana must be considered ajnanis but the gods also, and Iswara (the supreme personal God) himself, since he continues looking after the world. The fact is that any amount of action can be performed, and performed quite well, by the jnani, without his identifying himself with it in any way or ever imagining that he is the doer. Some power acts through his body and uses his body to get the work done.

    Question: Is a jnani capable of or likely to commit sins?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: An ajnani sees someone as a jnani and identifies him with the body. Because he does not know the Self and mistakes his body for the Self, he extends the same mistake to the state of the jnani. The jnani is therefore considered to be the physical frame.

    Again, since the ajnani, though he is not the doer, imagines himself to be the doer and considers the actions of the body his own, he thinks the ajnani to be similarly acting when the body is active. But the jnani himself knows the truth and is not confounded. The state of a jnani cannot be determined by the ajnani and therefore the question troubles only the ajnani and never arises for the jnani. If he is a doer he must determine the nature of the actions. The Self cannot be the doer. Find out who is the doer and the Self is revealed.

    Question: So it amounts to this. To see a jnani is not to understand him. You see the jnani’s body and not his jnana. One must therefore be a jnani to know a jnani.

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: The jnani sees no one as an ajnani. All are only jnanis in his sight. In the ignorant state one superimposes one’s ignorance on a jnani and mistakes him for a doer. In the state of jnana, the jnani sees nothing separate from the Self. The Self is all shining and only pure jnana. So there is no ajnana in his sight. There is an illustration for this kind of illusion or superimposition.

    Two friends went to sleep side by side. One of them dreamt that both of them had gone on a long journey and that they had had strange experiences. On waking up he recapitulated them and asked his friend if it was not so. The other one simply ridiculed him saying that it was only his dream and could not affect the other.

    So it is with the ajnani who superimposes his illusory ideas on others.

    Question: You have said that the jnani can be and is active, and deals with men and things. I have no doubt about it now. But you say at the same time that he sees no differences; to him all is one, he is always in the consciousness. If so, how does he deal with differences, with men, with things, which are surely different?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: He sees these differences as but appearances, he sees them as not separate from the true, the real, with which he is one.

    Question: The jnani seems to be more accurate in his expressions, he appreciates the differences better than the ordinary man. If sugar is sweet and wormwood is bitter to me, he too seems to realise it so. In fact, all forms, all sounds, all tastes, etc., are the same to him as they are to others. If so, how can it be said that these are mere appearances? Do they not form part of his life experience?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: I have said that equality is the true sign of jnana. The very term equality implies the existence of differences. It is a unity that the jnani perceives in all differences, which I call equality. Equality does not mean ignorance of distinctions. When you have the realisation you can see that these differences are very superficial, that they are not at all substantial or permanent, and what is essential in all these appearances is the one truth, the real. That I call unity. You referred to sound, taste, form, smell, etc. True, the jnani appreciates the distinctions, but he always perceives and experiences the one reality in all of them. That is why he has no preferences. Whether he moves about, or talks, or acts, it is all the one reality in which he acts or moves or talks. He has nothing apart from the one supreme truth.

    Question: They say that the jnani conducts himself with absolute equality towards all?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi:Yes.

    "Friendship, kindness, happiness and such other bhavas (attitudes) become natural to them. Affection towards the good, kindness towards the helpless, happiness in doing good deeds, forgiveness towards the wicked, all such things are natural characteristics of the jnani." (Patanjali, Yoga Sutras, 1:37).

    You ask about jnanis: they are the same in any state or condition, as they know the reality, the truth. In their daily routine of taking food, moving about and all the rest, they, the jnanis, act only for others. Not a single action is done for themselves. I have already told you many times just as there are people whose profession is to mourn for a fee, so also the jnanis do things for the sake of others with detachment, without themselves being affected by them.

    The jnani weeps with the weeping, laughs with the laughing, plays with the playful, sings with those who sing, keeping time to the song. What does he lose? His presence is like a pure, transparent mirror. It reflects the image exactly as it is. But the jnani, who is only a mirror, is unaffected by actions. How can a mirror, or the stand on which it is mounted, be affected by the reflection? Nothing affects them, as they are mere supports. On the other hand, the actors in the world – the doers of all acts, the ajnanis- must decide for themselves what song and what action is for the welfare of the world, what is in accordance with the sastras (scriptures), and what is practicable.

    Questioner: Further, an Indian philosopher, in one of his books, interpreting Sankara, says that there is no such thing as Videha Mukti, for after his death, the Mukta takes a body of light in which he remains till the whole of humanity becomes liberated.

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: That cannot be Sankara’s view. In verse 566 of Vivekachudamani he says that after the dissolution of the physical sheath the liberated man becomes like ‘water poured into water and oil into oil’. It is a state in which there is neither bondage nor liberation. Taking another body means throwing a veil, however subtle, upon reality, which is bondage. Liberation is absolute and irrevocable.

    Question: How can we say that the jnani is not in two planes? He moves about with us in the world and sees the various objects we see. It is not as if he does not see them. For instance he walks along. He sees the path he is treading. Suppose there is a chair or table placed across that path; he sees it, avoids it and goes round. So, have we not to admit he sees the world and the objects there, while of course he sees the Self?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: You say the jnani sees the path, treads it, comes across obstacles, avoids them, etc. In whose eyesight is all this, in the jnani’s or in yours? He sees only the Self and all in the Self.

    Question: Are there no illustrations given in our books to explain this sahaj (natural) state clearly to us?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: There are. For instance you see a reflection in the mirror and the mirror. You know the mirror to be the reality and the picture in it a mere reflection. Is it necessary that to see the mirror we should cease to see the reflection in it?

    Question: What are the fundamental tests for discovering men of great spirituality, since some are reported to behave like insane people?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: The jnani’s mind is known only to the jnani. One must be a jnani oneself in order to understand another jnani. However, the peace of mind which permeates the saint’s atmosphere is the only means by which the seeker understands the greatness of the saint.

    His words or actions or appearance are no indication of his greatness, for they are ordinarily beyond the comprehension of common people.

    Question: Why is it said in the scriptures that the sage is like a child?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: A child and a jnani are similar in a way. Incidents interest a child only so long as they last. It ceases to think of them after they have passed away. So then, it is apparent that they do not leave any impression on the child and it is not affected by them mentally. So it is with a jnani.

    Question: You are Bhagavan. So you should know when I shall get jnana. Tell me when I shall be a jnani?

    Sri Ramana Maharshi: If I am Bhagavan there is no one besides the Self- therefore no jnani or ajnani. If otherwise, I am as good as you are and know as much as yourself. Either way I cannot answer your question.

    Namaste Saidevoji,

    Thank you for the excerpt. Om Namah Bhagavate Shri Ramanaya.

    Om
    Last edited by atanu; 16 April 2008 at 02:14 PM.
    That which is without letters (parts) is the Fourth, beyond apprehension through ordinary means, the cessation of the phenomenal world, the auspicious and the non-dual. Thus Om is certainly the Self. He who knows thus enters the Self by the Self.

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